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SBF welcomes the government’s enhanced support for local PMEs

8 July 2014
 [Singapore] –  The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) welcomes the measures announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) today that are aimed at strengthening the Singaporean core of Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), enhancing the quality assessment of foreign PME applicants and expanding the support of dispute resolution for local PMEs.

SBF welcomes these mentioned measures against a backdrop of a tight labour market and as more of the Singaporean workforce becomes better qualified. We note that MOM has been judicious in enforcing the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) commitments and will not be imposing significant additional requirements for most companies that are committed to the FCF.

In addition, the Career Support Programme (CSP) will facilitate businesses’ ability to tap on mature PMEs as a valuable source of manpower, given the wealth of experience that they bring to the workplace. Businesses and PMEs will also benefit under the expanded dispute resolution framework as it would facilitate amicable, speedy and cost effective resolution of employment disputes for this increasingly critical core of our workforce.

The Federation also welcomes the change where MOM gives relevance to pertinent work experience when assessing work pass applications. This will provide flexibility for companies to employ foreign workers without formal educational qualifications with skills that are not available in Singapore. However, we hope the Government would exercise caution in implementing measures that would add further rigidity to the labour market and affect Singapore’s overall competitiveness. There have already been many shifts in our labour policies and further adjustments are closely scrutinised by businesses if they would affect Singapore’s position as a leading business hub with pro-business policies and a, flexible labour market that is open to global talent.

Mr S. S. Teo, Chairman of SBF, said “Today, we see a slew of measures announced that would improve the Singaporean core of PMEs which is beneficial for businesses. Together with the other trade associations and business chambers, SBF will work with MOM to achieve the outcomes of strengthening the Singaporean core, improving the quality of foreign workers and maintaining the competitiveness of our businesses. However, we must be careful not to impede Singapore’s competiveness as a result of labour market rigidity. Both mature PMEs and companies should not view the newly established CSP as permanent wage support because the programme is just a temporary provision to facilitate the transition for both sides. The desired outcome is that the mature PMEs should continue to be employed by the same employer after this transition arrangement has lapsed.”

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